Red espresso is not really 'espresso', but Rooibos tea, albeit a strong shot of the good stuff.
It originated back in 2005 when Cape farmer and espresso junkie Carl Pretorius opened up his Rooibos tea caddy and poured the fine leaves it into his espresso machine. Right then red espresso was born, featuring a strong, slightly nutty flavour and a clean finish.
A patented cut and method of preparation give red espresso richer flavour, colour and health properties than regular Rooibos, yet it is still naturally caffeine-free and is claimed to contain five times more antioxidants than green tea—a full 10 times more than regular Rooibos tea itself.
It can be made into lattes and cappuccino-style drinks. Red espresso won a Product of the Year award in 2006 in an important South African food and beverage innovation competition.
By the end of that year it made its way around the globe, and earned a spot on the shelves at Whole Foods markets around the US.